Crew-1 Launch Rescheduled for November 14

Crew-1 Launch Rescheduled for November 14

NASA announced today a new launch date for the first operational mission of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to the International Space Station (ISS) — November 14.  The launch was postponed after an engine anomaly during the attempted launch of a non-NASA satellite in early October.  NASA and SpaceX will discuss the results of the investigation into that anomaly during a media teleconference on October 28.

SpaceX successfully conducted a crewed test flight of its Crew Dragon spacecraft earlier this year and the first operational launch, taking four crew members to the ISS, was initially scheduled for October 23. That was delayed to October 31.

Then it slipped again because of  “off-nominal behavior of Falcon 9 first stage engine gas generators” during a non-NASA launch attempt, presumably the attempted launch of a GPS satellite for DOD that was scrubbed 2 seconds before liftoff on October 2.

Three Falcon 9 launches have taken place since then, all for SpaceX itself. The company is launching small communications satellites, 60 at a time, for its Starlink system.

NASA scheduled a media teleconference for Wednesday at 4:00 pm ET to discuss “results from recent testing of the Falcon 9 Merlin engine.” They clearly are confident enough in the engine’s reliability to reschedule the Crew-1 launch for November 14.

The press release also confirmed the launch date for a U.S./European earth science satellite, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, on a Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA on November 10.

The Crew-1 mission will ferry three NASA astronauts and one from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to the ISS for a 6-month mission.

The Crew-1 crew (L-R): Shannon Walker (NASA), Victor Glover (NASA), Michael Hopkins (NASA), Soichi Noguchi (JAXA). Credit: NASA

Crew Dragon was developed through a Public-Private Partnership between SpaceX and NASA where both contributed to the development costs. SpaceX owns the spacecraft while NASA purchases services after certifying the spacecraft meets NASA’s safety standards.  SpaceX also plans to fly non-professional astronauts to space on Crew Dragon, so-called space tourists.

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